Tequilita brings a three-race win streak into Saturday’s $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) for trainer Michael Matz, and one of those wins came when the bay filly upset the Forward Gal Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
That earned the Union Rags filly 10 points toward a starting berth in the May 5 Kentucky Oaks (G1), and she could pad that total with an extra 100 points if she wins on Saturday. The Gulfstream Park Oaks is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races and offers up 100-40-20-10 points to the respective top four finishers toward a spot in the Kentucky Oaks gate.
Tequilita was making her second stakes start in the Forward Gal, having closed out her juvenile season with a win in the Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park three months earlier. She actually broke her maiden at Keeneland in October, and the well-traveled miss didn’t miss a beat when taking the Forward Gal at 14-1 on February 4. She’ll have to stretch out past a mile for this one and brings Luis Saez along for the ride.
Salty is actually the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the Gulfstream Park Oaks, but the Mark Casse trainee just broke her maiden in her second try last out on March 5 over the track. That contest came at seven furlongs and earned the Quality Road filly a field-topping 97 BRIS Speed rating. Joel Rosario was aboard and returns for Salty’s stakes bow.
Nonna Bella and jockey John Velazquez reunite while going for a perfect three-for-three at Gulfstream. The Todd Pletcher pupil debuted February 4 with a neck score going 6 1/2 furlongs, then captured an allowance/optional claimer by a length on March 10 to bring her tally to an unbeaten two. The dark bay daughter of Stay Thirsty is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line.
Jordan’s Henny was pressured throughout on the front end but still managed to run second by a half-length in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at 19-1. That came after she broke her maiden in December in her seventh try, and the Michael Tomlinson trainee is one of the few in the field with experience going 1 1/16 miles. Corey Lanerie has the return call aboard the gray daughter of Henny Hughes.
Modacious finished fourth in the Davona Dale, beaten four lengths by the winner while making her third career start. The Uncle Mo filly gets a jockey change to Nik Juarez for the Gulfstream Park Oaks.
The Gulfstream Park Oaks field is completed by Shezaprado, who has run on turf in her past three; Spring Mist, who just wired a mile-and-40-yard maiden at Tampa Bay Downs by two lengths on March 10; and Conquest Sorceror, who is still seeking her first win in her eighth try here.
Summer Luck is cross-entered to both the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and Gulfstream Park Oaks on Saturday but is expected to scratch out of both in favor of a race at Keeneland.